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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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This season, the likeable but brutally capable Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), is joined by her 14-year-old sister, Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg). Where Dawn has been buried up to this point is painstakingly revealed, tormenting Buffy like a freshly hung victim in a noose, kicking for dear life. Luckily, Buffy lands a new boyfriend, Riley Finn. First year college disorientation is followed by a dreaded sophomore slump with more grown-up ghastliness and bizarre encounters. To help overcome new difficulties, Buffy’s gang gains two spectacular spectres, Spike, a surly English vampire and Anya, Xander’s jealous 1100-year-old, and long-time-dead former ghoulfriend.
The fifth season of Joss Whedon's hit series started out in excellent form as slayer extraordinaire Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) did battle with the most famous of vampires (that Dracula guy) and then went on to spar with another nemesis, little sister Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg). Wait--Buffy has a teenage sister? Where has she been the past four years? And why is everyone acting like she's always been around? Turns out that young Dawn is actually "The Key," a form of pure energy that, true to its name, helps open the gates between different dimensions. To protect said key from falling into the wrong hands, a group of monks gave it human form and sent it to the fiercely protective Buffy for safekeeping, creating new memories of Dawn for everyone as if she'd existed... well, always. Why all the super secrecy? There's this very, very, very bad girl named Glory (Clare Kramer) who wants the key very badly, and will do anything to get it. Oh, and by the way, Glory isn't just a run-of-the-mill demon... she's way worse. Some fans will tell you that Buffy "jumped the shark" with the introduction of Dawn, when in actuality this season was the pinnacle of the show's achievement, as there was superb comedy to be had ("Buffy Vs. Dracula," the double-Xander episode "The Replacement," the introduction of the "Buffybot" in "Intervention") as well as some of television's best drama. The Whedon-scripted and -directed "The Body" remains one of Buffy's best episodes, when the young woman who faces down supernatural death on a daily basis finds herself powerless in the wake of her mother's sudden passing. The first third or so of the season was a bit choppy, but once the evil Glory came into her own, Buffy was a television force to be reckoned with. Kramer was the show's best villain (after the evil Angel, natch), and the supporting cast was never better. But as always, it was the superb Gellar who was the powerful centre of the show, sparking opposite lovelorn vampire Spike (James Marsters) and wrestling with moral dilemmas rarely seen on television. With this season, Buffy Summers became, like Tony Soprano, one of television's true greats. --Mark Englehart --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition DVD.
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There are Buffy fans who like and dislike nearly every aspect of BUFFY. Some did not care for the addition of Dawn to the cast, but I loved it, partly for the virtuosic manner in which they integrated her in the cast, and partly for the astonishing story line that developed out of who she truly was. Dawn, an entity of pure energy that is a key to a demon portal, was created by monks as a real human being, a real sister to The Slayer, in order to guarantee that Buffy would protect her with her life. I love the way that all the Scooby Gang completely accepts her, and the profound questions it raises in Dawn herself, as she desperately attempts to come to terms with the knowledge that she isn't who she remembers herself to be.
Old subplots are resolved and new ones emerge. Buffy's romance with Riley, nearly universally loathed by Buffy fans, thankfully ends. Giles takes over the ownership of The Magic Box and Anya becomes his enthusiastic assistant. Spike, still harmless due to his implant, is horrified to realize that he is in love with Buffy. Joyce is stricken with a brain tumor and eventually dies of a brain aneurysm, which leads to what is in many ways the most remarkable episode in the entire history of the show, "The Body." Most of Buffy is shot employing a quick, fast moving pace. But this episode intentionally slows down time, intensifying and emphasizing every nuance of Buffy's overwhelming grief and panic at discovering her mother's body. In my opinion, it is the single best representation in either film or TV of human reaction to the death of a loved one.
Season Five's primary story arc is, however, that of the hell goddess Glory and her attempt to recover The Key (Dawn) that will allow her to reenter her hell dimension. Glory is, with the possible exception of Angelus, the best villain in the history of BUFFY and ANGEL. She is a goddess portrayed as super consumer (her nice shoes and pedicures causes Dawn to remark, "She has really nice feet"), going on spending sprees to placate her sorrows at being trapped in a dimension not her own. Her whacky wit and (for a goddess) naive stupidity combined with her considerable power creates excitement nearly every second she is onscreen. In a season of many highlights, I especially love the episode where Glory's minions wrongly assume that Spike is The Key, and bring him to Glory, who tortures him to find out who The Key truly is. Despite beating him badly, he refuses to tell. Buffy's intense and heartfelt gratitude signals a change in attitude on the part of the Scoobies, and hints that behavior and compassion are as much a mark of someone becoming good (despite being a vampire) as having a soul (in the case of Angel). The final episode, "The Gift," is one of the truly epic moments in the entire series, and yet another of the classic moments that BUFFY left us. The final shot of the season is simply heartbreaking.
6 DVD in 3 boxes (i've shared images of this)
subtitles and spoken in spanish, english and french
It also contains closed Caption.
No cuts from the original boxed set. IT'S THE SAME!!! but in other package.
Although Season Five of BUFFY isn't considered by most to be the shows best year (Season Two probably would get the nod by more), I personally consider it to be the most impressive of the seven seasons of the show. This was a season with few or no weak episodes, the most unified central story line, a host of superb lesser plot lines, several brilliantly written episodes, and an absolutely stunning season finale. When I saw Season Two I was convinced that it would long stand as the single finest season of any show I knew, but Season Five changed my mind.
By Season Five BUFFY was a mature show. It never achieved a large audience, and much of the early hype had started to fade, though critics and fans continued to celebrate it as one of the most brilliantly written shows in the history of TV. Had it ended at the end of its fourth season, its status as one of the most crucial shows in the history of the medium would have been assured. But no one familiar with the show was surprised when they pulled out all the stops and somehow, improbably managed to top all that had gone before.
Season Five begins with a doubt planted in Buffy by none other than the most famous vampire of them all, Dracula, who had traveled to Sunnydale to meet the Slayer. Although in many ways the weakest episode of the season, the Count's encounters with Buffy caused her to question who she was and what she was all about. Season Four had ended with the great episode "Restless," in which Buffy in a dream sequence had encountered the First Slayer, who told her that the kill was all, implying that her rich social circle and group of friends interfered with her being the Slayer. Dracula tells her that she is a hunter and that she thrives on the thrill of the hunt. In a way, the question raised in Buffy's mind is whether she is good, whether being the Slayer is compatible with being a decent human being. For the whole season Buffy will ponder questions of friends, family, death, and love. And for her everything will be clarified in a single moment of great self-sacrifice.
At the end of the first episode, after having dispensed with Dracula and asking Giles to once again be her watcher (she even agrees to read books in order to become more proficient, though she typically asks if any of them are on tape read by George Clooney), Buffy tells her mother that she is going to meet Riley. Buffy walks into her bedroom, where a girl we have never seen before is standing. Joyce then calls out to Buffy that if she was going to meet Riley, she should take her sister, to which both Buffy and this strange girl turn and irritatingly yell, "Mom!" It was an astonishing plot development, the literary equivalent of a skater announcing that they were about to perform a quadruple axle with back flip. They created a plot twist that seemed almost impossible to resolve in any satisfying kind of way. Any fan of BUFFY knows at least one thing: Buffy is an only child. She has no sister, no brother, no half-brother or half sister, no adopted sibling. There is ONLY Buffy and her mother. To make things even more bizarre, for the first four episodes of the season things proceed as if Dawn, her sister, had always been a part of the show. She was known and loved by the other permanent characters of the show, shared their memories, and apparently had always been there. Only gradually do we come to learn the truth. Dawn is a newly created human being. She is, in fact, a mystical key to a hell dimension who had been magically transformed into the sister of the Slayer by a group of monks in order to try and hide her from a hell god who was intent on using her to open the door between this world and hell. The monks had created Dawn as the Slayer's sister because they believed that she could best help protect her. They made her a real girl, unaware of her metaphysical reality, and had "built" the memories of all those connected with the Slayer in order to hide the Key as well as possible. It was an outrageous thing to attempt. The miracle is that they were amazingly successful. Many don't care for Dawn because they see her as whiney, but few dislike her because they find her hard to accept as The Key. Gradually, of course, first Buffy, then Giles, then Joyce, and finally the Scoobies and Dawn herself come to understand who she is.
Meanwhile, the hell god is searching for The Key. Being a subversive show, BUFFY was always intent to take some new slant on the traditional villain, and so here. Glory, or Glorificus to give her full name, may be a hell god, but visually she looks like a very beautiful, vain, pampered (you know she gets regular pedicures and waxings), somewhat ditzy fashion plate. Physically Buffy is no match for her and is only saved in their first encounter when Glory causes a building to collapse on her when she has a temper tantrum after breaking a heel. That sums up about all one needs to know about Glory. From the 5th episode until the finale, the narrative for the season was structured around the attempt to protect Dawn/The Key from Glory.
The existence of Dawn raises a host of questions, none more important to Buffy that who Dawn really is. She has memories of Dawn as her sister, remembers growing up with her, but she knows that Dawn isn't "really" her sister. So who is she? The first episode following Buffy's discovery of the truth about Dawn is "Family," in which Tara's family comes to Sunnydale to take her home. The Maclay family has come to get her because, they claim, the Maclay women assume their demon form when they turn a certain age. When Tara shows some reluctance to go with them, her father declares that she should be with her family. Although none of the Scoobies have ever been particularly close or even accepting of Tara, upon learning that Tara doesn't want to go with her father Buffy declares that they can take her, but that they have to go through her to do so. Mr. Maclay then points out, "We're her blood kin. Who are you?" To which Buffy responds, "We're family." This is crucial for understanding not just Buffy's subsequent decision to accept Dawn fully as her sister, but for understanding the workings of the Scoobies as a whole. Not just Buffy and Joyce, but Dawn, Willow, Tara, Xander, Giles, and Anya form a family. Even Spike eventually assumes the position of the family's black sheep. So gradually, in answer to the doubts raised by Dracula as to who Buffy truly is, she is first and foremost a part of a community. And to the First Slayer, who insisted there was only the kill, Buffy could assert that there was the family. And to the idea that a Slayer was essentially a killer, she eventually learns that above all else she is a lover.
The rest of the season more or less is a gloss on this idea of family and unity in the face of outside danger. There are a host of subplots, including the building relationship between Xander and Anya, Anya's growth from former vengeance demon to avid capitalist, Giles purchase of the Magic Box, and Riley's departure from the show. The most entertaining subplot was unquestionably Spike's horrified realization that he was in love with the Slayer, which resulted in a Slayer fixation. Eventually, his desire to be respected by Buffy leads to something of a moral transformation, so that even before he acquired a soul at the end of Season Six he had more or less acquired one by his actions.
This season depended less on outstanding individual episodes than previous (or subsequent) ones, mainly because the season as a whole holds together so well. But there were nonetheless some great individual ones. I loved "No Place Like Home" in which we meet Glory for the first time, Anya becomes an avid money maker, and Buffy discovers the truth about Dawn. "Family" I've mentioned. "Fool for Love" is a Spike-centered episode in which he explains to Buffy not only how he killed two previous Slayers but what it was that made it possible. "Blood Ties" is a very intense episode in which Dawn discovers who she is and has more than a little trouble coming to terms with it. "I Was Made to Love You" is a wonderful episode about relationships and blaming oneself for the failures of another to be in a relationship, structured about a beautiful young woman who comes to Sunnydale looking for who she takes as her boyfriend, but who is in reality her maker. She is a robot. The builder, Warren, becomes an important character in Season Six. The last several episodes are so good that it is difficult to consider them apart from one another, but I will merely say that the final episode, "The Gift," rivals Season Two's "Becoming" and Season Seven's "Chosen" as the best BUFFY finale.
One episode, however, stands out even among these. "The Body" is arguably the best episode in the history of the show and one of the most brilliant individual episodes in the history of television. Buffy comes home to discover her mother Joyce dead on a couch. What follows is the most realistic, palpable, and believable representation of what it feels to lose a loved one not merely in the history of TV, but in the history of visual media. Certainly no movie feels as convincing as this episode. That "The Body" did not win the Emmy for best writing that year is an indictment of the silliness of the Emmys. It is an almost impossibly well done episode.
The season ends with Buffy with the help of her friends defeating Glory, but not before Dawn's blood has been used to open the door between dimensions. The door can only be closed by the blood that runs through Dawn, but since she was created from Buffy's blood, to be the sister of the Slayer, Buffy realizes that her blood also can close the path through the two dimensions. In a vision, the First Slayer has told Buffy that "Death is your gift." In one of the great visual images in the run of the show, Buffy dashes down the platform on which they are standing and dives into the dimension gate. The season ends with a shot of a gravestone engraved with the name "Buffy Anne Summers" and below that the words, "She saved the world. A lot."
There are those who wish that the show had ended there. BUFFY is widely regarded as one of the very best shows ever made (TV critics almost routinely in trying to gauge how good a current show is by comparing it to BUFFY-for instance, in the past month I have read a discussion of the best Season Two's in TV history, with BUFFY and THE SOPRANOS identified as perhaps the two best, while I read a review of the final episode of SIX FEET UNDER, with the reviewer comparing it to other great series finales but mentioning only BUFFY's by name), but, they argue, the final two seasons represented a decline in quality. While I somewhat agree about the decline in quality, I think the decline can be exaggerated. It also changes what became the final story. In the series as we have it, Buffy was given her life back with the activation of all the Potentials. While self-sacrifice is always great on a screen, ending the series with her death would have left it pure tragedy. Also, there were a host of great seasons in the final two seasons. Would any BUFFY fan really want to have missed "Once More With Feeling" or "Tabula Rasa" or "Conversations with Dead People" or "Lies My Parents Told Me"? Still, I will agree that BUFFY, though still good and frequently brilliant, would never be this perfect again. Season Five of BUFFY truly is television has it can possible get.
1. Buffy .vs. Dracula: 9.5/10
2. Real Me: 9.5/10 (Harmony is back)
3. The Replacement: 9/10
4. Out of My Mind: 8/10
5. No Place Like Home: 9/10
6. Family: 9/10
7. Fool For Love: 10/10 (watch with Angel's "Darla" episode)
8. Shadow: 8/10
9. Listening to Fear: 8.5/10
10. Into the Woods: 8.5/10 (Riley leaves)
11. Triangle: 8/10
12. Checkpoint: 8.5/10
13. Blood Ties: 9/10
14. Crush: 10/10 (Harmony and Drusilla are back)
15. I was made to love you: 8/10
16. The Body: 11/10
17. Forever: 9.5/10 (Angel pays a visit to Sunnydale)
18. Intervention: 9/10
19. Tough Love: 9.5/10
20. Spiral: 10/10
21. The Weight of the World: 10/10
22. The Gift: 11/10
...."you think you know what's to come...you haven't even begun."
Season 5 is departure childhood for Buffy. There is no parent, boyfriend, or educational institution to guide her; she is left to set her own moral compass. And even though she is surrounded by friends who love her, her burden is still one that she cannot share. This is the year when Buffy proves why she was ever chosen to be The Chosen One in the first place. In a later episode, Buffy tells Dawn that "it's about power...who's got it, and who knows how to use it." In season 5, Glory, and even Willow, may have more power than Buffy, but she has more heart.
I can't even begin to get into individual episodes of season 5, because there is a 1000 word limit to these reviews and I would need at least three times that to do them justice. But let me just say that the writers hit and maintained their stride all season long- the arc is solid, the comedy relieves, and the characters have never been more fully realized.
Without going into too much detail, here are the highlights of season 5, and the reasons why its getting no Emmy awards, although always a crime, was a capital offense this year:
1. The undemonization of Spike and the beginning of his transformation into becoming a good man.
2. Riley's descent into uselessness and fetishism... sometimes, the humans are darker than the monsters.
3. The death, by natural causes, of Buffy's mother, showing Buffy that there are some things even she can't fight.
4. Buffy stands up to those grumpy men of the Watcher's Council, and wins.
5. Glory. Say what you will about the actress portraying her, Glory is the most threatening villain and, in fact, bested Buffy in terms of strength.
6. The way Buffy learns, at the last possible moment, that her true power isn't in her fist, it's in her heart, and makes a sacrifice that trumps everyone.
Whether you are one of those people for whom Tuesday nights were a set appointment for seven years, or one of those people who came into the show late and are only still discovering it, season 5 is the one that proved the show's street cred... and it's the one that we all earned the right to have. So just go cut one of those fringe kids or cousins off your Christmas list this year, and spend the $40 to get this for yourself. Please!!!